Sadhguru answers the question whether our own minds are really working against us on the spiritual path.
Questioner: Is our mind really against us all the time and if it is, then why is it so?
Sadhguru: Now it is because of your mind you heard of a word called spirituality. Yes? It is because of your mind that you are able to understand what I am talking to you right now. So someone who is your friend, don’t make an enemy out of him. Please look at your life and tell me, is your mind your friend or enemy? You are who you are only because of your mind, isn’t it so? You made a mess out of yourself, that’s up to you. If you want to be without it, it’s very simple; you just need a big knock on your head. The mind is not the problem. You don’t know how to handle it, that’s the problem. So don’t talk about the mind, just look at the inadequacy with which you are trying to handle it. Without any grasp or understanding over something, if you try to handle it, then it will become a mess.
Right now for example, growing rice, do you think it’s a big feat? A simple farmer is growing it. I’ll give you 100 grams of rice grains, the necessary land and everything that you need. You grow one acre of rice paddy and give it to me, you will see what a mess you will be. Not because growing rice is such a big thing, but because you don’t understand a damn thing about it, that’s why it is so difficult. Similarly, keeping the mind empty like space is not a difficult thing, it’s the easiest thing. But you don’t understand a damn thing about it, so it is so difficult. Life doesn’t work like that. If you want to have the capability of handling something well, you have to have a complete grasp of what it is. Otherwise just by accident a few times you may manage. Every time it won’t work.
One day in a very fundamentalist church, the pastor was going at the Sunday school kids before the actual service. You know, they’re all high energy people, so he was really getting at them. Then he found the children were looking a little downcast, so he thought he will make it a little more interesting for them by telling them a riddle. So he said, “Now I’m going to give you a riddle. What gathers nuts for the winter, climbs up trees, hops around and has a furry tail?” One little girl raised her hand. “Okay, tell me what it is.” She said, “I know the answer is Jesus, but for me it sounds like a squirrel.” Okay? So that’s the kind of stuff you’ve received till now. Most of the education you received is in this context. What is right and wrong, what is okay and not okay, what is God and devil, everything is in this context, not from your own experience of life.
So how can you stop this mind? You have gotten yourself identified with things that you are not. The moment you identify yourself with something that you are not, the mind will go on nonstop. Suppose you ate lots of oily food, then you will get gas. Now you try to hold it, you cannot. If you are eating the right food, you don’t have to hold anything, the body is fine. The same with your mind – you are wrongly identified with things that you are not. Once you are wrongly identified, you cannot stop the mind.
If you dis-identify with everything that you are not, you will see the mind will just be blank and empty. If you want to use it, you can use it; otherwise it will simply be empty. That’s how it should be, it has no other business to be any other way. But right now, you have identified yourself with so many things that you are not. Just see how many things you are identified with, starting from your physical body. So many things you are identified with and you are trying to stop your mind, trying to meditate – it won’t work. Either you dismantle your identifications or life will do it to you. Whatever you identify yourself with, when death confronts you, it all drops, isn’t it? So if you don’t learn any other way, death will come and teach you that this is not it. If you have any sense, you learn right now that this is not it. If you don’t learn now, death will come and knock you out of your identifications.
So you need to dis-identify yourself. Every day just spend 10 minutes in the morning and see what are all the things that you are identified with, which is actually not you. You will be surprised to see in how many ridiculous ways and with how many ridiculous things you are identified. Just mentally break all the things around you in your house and see, you will know all the things you are identified with. Little things, big things, your own house, your family, everything, mentally just break them and see. All the things that hurt you, you are identified with them obviously. Once you are identified with something that you are not, the mind is an express train that you can’t stop. Do what you want, it won’t stop. So you put the mind on full steam and you want to apply brakes – it doesn’t work like that. You must take your leg off the throttle first, before you brake any vehicle.
Editor’s Note: Find more of Sadhguru’s insights on the potential of the human mind, in “Mind is Your Business“.